About Hansard

History of Hansard

The Official Report known as “Hansard” is named after the family who established a reporting and publication system for the House of Commons in the early 19th century. Get the full story at www.commonwealth-hansard.org.

The Official Hansard Report of the Cayman Islands is an impartial, accurate and permanent record of parliamentary proceedings — the decisions that were taken, the policies adopted, and the passage of legislation. It is a chronicle of history. Although editorial corrections are allowed, no words may be added or removed to change the sense of what has been spoken. Care is taken to preserve each Member’s distinctive speaking style: this is referred to as the “verbatim rule.” Text is edited to filter out unnecessary wording to make the report generally more readable.

The production of Hansard is guided by Erskine May’s Parliamentary Practice, and the rules or standing orders of Parliament.

“The Official Report is a full report, in the first person, of all speakers alike, a full report being defined as one ‘which, though not strictly verbatim, is substantially the verbatim report, with repetitions and redundancies omitted and with obvious mistakes corrected, but which on the other hand leaves out nothing that adds to the meaning of the speech or illustrates the argument”. [Erskine May’s Parliamentary Practice, Twenty-Fifth Edition, page 151]

The Official Hansard Report is often used inside and outside the House of Parliament. For example, law firms and courts may make reference to Hansard, particularly if there is ambiguity in legislation. Accuracy and impartiality are the hallmarks of Hansard. As Speaker Boothroyd said when opening the Commonwealth Hansard Editors Association Conference in 1996:

Behind change lies an unchangeable requirement on you all: the challenge and responsibility to maintain your traditional standards of accuracy and impartiality. That is crucial because accuracy and impartiality are the halmarks of Hansard. Whatever changes come along, parliamentarians – all of us – look to you to hold fast to those guiding principles.”

For assistance, contact the Hansard Unit at [email protected].